BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has signed a temporary Executive Order allowing the city's essential stores to use plastic bags in order to help meet delivery demands during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"During this challenging time, we understand the retail establishments our residents rely on, like grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants, need added flexibility to best serve their customers," said Mayor Walsh. "We are adjusting Boston's plastic bag ordinance to give establishments and residents the help they need during this time."
In a press release, the City of Boston said the temporary exemption will apply to "all retail establishments that qualify as "Essential Businesses" under the Governor Baker's Emergency Order announced Monday, March 23."
Those essential businesses will be allowed to use plastic bags, which had otherwise been limited in the city. They will also be exempt from the requirement to charge customers a fee for checkout bags.
Since the pandemic prompted a stay-at-home advisory from Gov. Baker until April 6, food delivery requirements have ramped up for grocery stores and restaurants in particular.
Mayor Walsh's office said the Executive Order also means residents who go to stores will not have to rely on their reusable bags, which will better "protect residents as they shop for essential needs." In Cambridge, shoppers have been ordered to stop bringing their reusable bags to stores altogether, which officials say will help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The City of Boston's Executive Order will be in effect until the last day of the Public Health Emergency as declared by the Boston Public Health Commission.